Effective time management is an integral part of creating and maintaining a successful business. Of course, when customers get involved, this can become a lot more tricky. 

If you’re only using a pen and paper to keep track of your bookings, things can get disorganised very quickly. Instead, you may want to check out our choices for the best small business booking apps.

  • Calendly
  • Acuity Scheduling
  • Square Appointments
  • Fresha

Booking apps for small business

Ready to make the most of your time? One of the following apps should help. 

Calendly

Want to embed your booking service directly into your website? Check out Calendly. It’s a great way to open up your schedule to customers, and let them choose a slot from your availability. 

Since it’s all online, you can access it from any device with an internet connection, or you can download the app on your phone. This means you should be able to access your professional schedule from anywhere.

And you don’t have to worry about missing an appointment either. With calendly, every time a customer makes an appointment (or cancels one), they send an email to both parties to let you know. 

An extra benefit is not having to manually copy over your existing calendar. If it’s on Google, iCloud, Office 365, or Outlook, then you can integrate it with Calendly and see all your events transfer over

While the free version is probably enough for most small businesses, there are some useful features that it doesn’t have access to. For example, you can only have one type of meeting unless you pay for an upgraded package. 

Pros:

  • Accessible via web, iOS, and Android
  • Can create unlimited one-on-one meetings
  • Automatically notifies for bookings and cancellations
  • Integrates with Google, iCloud, Office 365, and Outlook calendars

Cons:

  • Some useful features are only on paid plans

Acuity Scheduling

Interested in taking payment during the booking process? You can’t go wrong with Acuity. They’re also part of SquareSpace, so you know that you can expect quality.

Acuity accepts payment from three main providers — Stripe, Square, and PayPal. This can give your client a couple of different ways to pay. Plus, the service even lets them apply a tip to their booking. 

You’ll also have access to unlimited meetings and services, so you know ahead of time exactly what the customer is looking for. This means less wasted time once the appointment has begun, and potentially a faster turnaround time. 

But that’s not all. You’re also able to integrate your Acuity account with your Google Meet, Zoom, or GoToMeeting account. This lets you offer online meetings and consultations, without having to manually set up online meetings.

You’ll also get multiple notifications for each online booking, including confirmation, reminder, and follow-up emails. These help you and your client stay aware of what’s happening, and can help you provide a better customer service experience. 

If you decide to go with Acuity, you should probably know that there aren’t any free plans available. You get a seven day free trial, and then have to choose a plan at $14 (£10), $23 (£17.50), or $45 (£34) a month. 

Pros:

  • Accept payments through Stripe, Square, or PayPal
  • Unlimited meetings and services
  • Online meetings integrate with Google Meet, Zoom, and GoToMeeting
  • Confirmation, reminder, and follow-up email notifications

Cons:

  • No free plans available

Square Appointments

Do you have a Square Point of Sale system set up for your business already? Then your best bet could be to stick with Square and use their appointment booking system too. 

Square Appointments boasts several useful features for online booking. For example, you get access to ‘Square Online’ (a customisable booking website) along with some SEO tools and a website QR code. 

These features work together to make the booking process quite enjoyable for your customers. Perfect for keeping customers coming back, since a confusing system can prevent customers from completing their booking. 

And if you ever need to take time off (for a holiday perhaps), you can block off personal time. This prevents clients from booking those slots, and leaving you with overlapping schedules. 

While Square does have free and paid plans, all their plans are subject to payment processing fees. That means even the free plan technically costs you money. 

Pros:

  • Connects with Square PoS payment processing, so you don’t pay multiple fees
  • Multiple online booking features
  • Block personal events

Cons:

  • Pay a % fee per transaction
  • Free version misses out on a lot of features

Fresha

Running a salon or beauty business? You’ll be glad to know there exists an option designed just for you. Fresha.

One of the best things about Fresha is that it’s almost completely free. What this means is that you don’t pay anything for the base product. Instead, you only pay for some optional extras, like 6p per promo text and 2p per email. 

By using Fresha, you also get access to the Fresha Marketplace. This shows you on a list of services that other Fresha customers can see, and book your services through the platform. 

The only downside is that any first-time bookings made through the marketplace are subject to a 20% commission fee. 

Pros:

  • Almost completely free (a few optional paid extras)
  • Access to the Fresha Marketplace

Cons:

  • Only suitable for businesses in the beauty sector

Manage your subscription costs

Since most of these options have payment plans you can choose, it’s only right that we discuss how to manage those subscription costs

Our app of choice? Countingup.

It’s a two-in-one business current account and accounting app, which gives you crystal clear control over your business’s finances. It can even automatically sort your spending into HMRC-approved categories, to help with filing your Self Assessment


If you’re interested in taking a look at the other features the app has to offer, download it for free today.

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